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Golden-naped Woodpecker Melanerpes chrysauchen

  • Order: Piciformes
  • Family: Picidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Ming Alexander and Carole S. Griffiths



Golden-naped Woodpeckers forage in the canopy, and sleep and nest in holes from 12-30+ m above the ground (Skutch 1969). They live throughout the year in pairs or family groups. Family groups sleep together in their cavities (Skutch 1948). These are most often carved in fire-killed trees which have been left standing in clearings in the forest, rarely more than 100 m from heavy woodland.


Little information. They may defend nest cavities (Skutch 1948).

Sexual Behavior

Golden-naped Woodpeckers are monogamous.

Social and interspecific behavior

Wing-spreading may occur when two individuals are in close contact. Young remain with parents until the next breeding season. Family groups stay close during the day and roost together in the nest cavity each night (Skutch 1969).

Masked (Tityra semifasciata) and Black-crowned (Tityra inquisitor) tityras sometimes try to take over Golden-naped Woodpecker nest cavities by adding leaves and filling the cavity. The woodpecker ay remove the leaves but will usually abandon the cavity and carve a new one. Lineated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus lineatus) are more agressive and will drive Golden-naped Woodpeckers from their cavities (Skutch 1969).


The major predators are toucans that prey on the eggs of these woodpeckers (Skutch 1948).

Recommended Citation

Alexander, M. and C. S. Griffiths (2012). Golden-naped Woodpecker (Melanerpes chrysauchen), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.